In a slip & fall or some other type of personal injury case, having video surveillance footage of your injury makes it much easier to prove liability.
Consider the case of Julie, who went shopping a week before Christmas at a busy mall.
While getting off an escalator at the mall, Julie slipped and fell forward, using her right hand to brace herself as she hit the ground. Immediately after the fall, Julie felt pain in her right hand and was unable to get up. Witnesses immediately alerted mall security and an incident report was filed. Julie declined to be taken to a doctor but in the middle of the night, pain in her hand and arm was so severe her husband took her to the emergency room.
After a few X-rays, doctors determined Julie had broken her arm and wrist and bruised her pelvis. Surgery was scheduled where a plate was placed in her wrist and pins were placed in her arm so the bones would fuse back together. While the surgery was a success, Julie had to undergo 5 months of physical therapy.
It was soon learned some spilled soda at the base of the escalator caused Julie to slip and fall.
According the surveillance footage of the area, the slip hazard was there for about 2 hours before Julie’s fateful fall. Additionally, the footage showed no mall personnel had taken steps to either remove the hazard or warn shoppers of the danger.
From a liability perspective, the owners and managers of the mall failed in their duty to inspect their premises, warn shoppers of any dangers or take steps to remove the danger. Therefore, the mall’s owners and managers are liable for Julie’s medical expenses.
The mall’s property management company carried an insurance policy for such incidences and immediately admitted liability and offered Julie $5000. However, it was later determined her surgery cost $25,000 and physical therapy an additional $10k. $5000 would have barely made a dent.
A year following the accident, Julie hired a personal injury attorney who requested a settlement of $140,000. A counter-offer was eventually made in the amount of $35k and then another counter-offer for $125k was requested.
Considering the big difference between these amounts, a trial seemed inevitable. Since the two-year statute of limitations was nearing, Julie’s attorney filed a lawsuit.
On the first day of the trial, the judge ordered all parties to make one final effort at negotiation in order to avoid a lengthy, costly trial. After 6 hours of negotiation, all parties involved settled on $75,000 – $50k of which was to be paid by the management company and $25k to be paid by the mall’s owners.
If you’ve been injured in a place that has video surveillance, you can request footage of the incident during settlement negotiations. If the owner of the premises refuses or otherwise fails to provide the footage, you will have to file a lawsuit and subpoena the footage as evidence.
And remember – there CAN be more than one party at-fault in a premises liability/slip & fall case. In Julie’s case, it was determined both the property management company and mall owners were at fault. Often times, defendants of this nature will delay making a suitable offer betting that the plaintiff doesn’t have the resources to carry their complaint through a lengthy trial.
Premises liability attorneys in Denver at the Babcock Law Firm help individuals like Julie obtain the compensation they need to pay for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you’ve sustained an injury like Julie’s and are finding difficulty in obtaining compensation, contact us today for a free case evaluation.